The victim, from Zimbabwe, was on holiday in Cape Town for the month to attend the wedding of his life partner’s daughter.
According to Ian Klopper, NSRI spokesperson, the victim was attacked at about 15:15 where he was standing chest-deep in the water, about 100m from the beach, as he was busy adjusting his diving goggles. Lifeguards later found only the goggles.
Alison Kock from the Shark Spotter Programme and Shark Centre in Kalk Bay, said he was presumably attacked by a Great White shark. “They are capable of such an attack,” she said.
Stood near rocks
A witness, Kathy Geldenhuys from Fish Hoek, who was sitting on the beach and saw the attack, said the man was in the water up to about his waist.
“He was standing near the rocks and my husband said, if a shark should go there now, he wouldn’t have a chance.”
According to her, just after her husband said these words, they saw an “incredibly big” shark attacking the man. “It came from below and grabbed the man. Part of his body was gone.”
Geldenhuys says the shark turned around and pulled the rest of the man’s body down into the water.
“I yelled: there’s a shark in the water, there’s a shark. There were about 30 people in the water then. They only got out of the water when I started yelling.”
The water where the man had been standing was dark with blood.
Flag raised after attack
She said she ran to the lifeguards’ club house.
According to her, they immediately sounded the sirens and hoisted the white flag, which indicates that sharks have been spotted. Before the attack, Geldenhuys said, that flag had not been raised.
Kock said that two witnesses confirmed how the attack took place.
She said that only the black flag was hoisted, which indicates poor visibility.
According to Kock, the black flag indicates that, due to the weather, the visibility is poor for the shark spotters. She also said that over the past two weeks only one shark was spotted near Fish Hoek.
November Filander, police spokesperson, confirmed the incident, but couldn’t confirm the victim’s name. He did say that the man’s partner is being treated for trauma.
All beaches closed
On Tuesday evening rescue teams searched in vain for his body. The search was due to continue on Wednesday morning.
Howard Gold of the city council’s coastal management unit said that all swimming beaches from Glencairn to Muizenberg have been closed until further notice.
Keith Matthews, spokesperson for WP lifeguards, said a warning has been raised from Strandfontein to Mnandi, but the beaches aren’t closed.
According to him, there were three shark sightings near Mnandi’s swimming beach last month.
“Swimmers were immediately asked to come out of the sea,” he said.
The city council and the NSRI sent out a warning on Tuesday, shortly before the incident, to warn swimmers and surfers about the increasing number of sharks near the coast in False Bay, especially between Sunrise beach and Fish Hoek.
Recent shark attacks
This is not the first shark attack on the False Bay coast.
Tyna Webb, 78, died on November 15 2004 when a Great White shark attacked her at Sunny Cove near Fish Hoek.
Henri Murray, 22, a Matie, was ripped apart by a Great White shark in June 2005 at Miller’s Point near Simon’s Town.
The Paralympic swimmer Achmat Hassiem, 27, lost his leg on August 13 2006 in an attack by a Great White shark at Sunrise beach near Muizenberg. He and his brother, Taariq, were taking part in a lifeguard exercise when the incident took place.
Andrew Smith (14 at the time) was surfing at the Point in Strand in November 2007 when a shark got hold of both his feet. He survived fortunately, with only scars to show for the ordeal. – Die Burger